The yoga and meditation that I offer can be picked up by anyone who is wishing to reconnect with and understand their body/mind in order to find ‘freedom’ and come back to a place of wholeness. Ultimately this understanding within leads the student to a better understanding of him/herself.
Yoga inspired by Vanda Scaravelli
“Understanding leads to independence and to freedom”
So a little about Vanda Scaravelli. Once a classical pianist, found yoga when B.K.S Iyengar was introduced to her by the famous violinist Yehudi Menhuin and they struck up a friendship for many years where Vanda worked one to one with Iyengar. She was also a personal friend of J Krishnamurti , an Indian philosopher and many references in her book ‘Awakening the spine’ have echoes of his wisdom.
The spine, gravity and the breath
Vanda Scaravelli ‘s approach to yoga is pioneering. Vanda explored the relationship between the spine, breath and gravity: working with these the spine unfolds like a wave, from here the body can come back to a natural state of health and vitality and we find more freedom of movement.
As Vanda describes in her book “Awakening the Spine”
“There is a division in the center of our back, where the spine moves simultaneously in two opposite directions, from the waist down towards the legs and the feet, which are pulled by gravity, and from the waist upwards, through the top of the head, lifting us up freely.”
Vanda discovered a way of practising asanas (yoga postures ) that encouraged the spine to awaken. She found that as one ‘lets go’ into gravity, tension is released from the body and a light and spacious opening and uplift happens.
I am deeply inspired by the work of Vanda Scaravelli and teachers of her work including Diane Long, John Stirk , Elizabeth Paunz and Liz Warrington.
My meditation practice of many years is especially inspired by practitioners from Open Dharma where I have come to land in recent years – Deep rest meditation practice.
Freedom in our practice & deep rest
What appeals in this practice is the call to invite the practitioner to find his or her own way, by learning to listen to the intelligence of her own body: within this ‘intelligence’ is the chance to undo, to let go and see what happens: a freedom of expression of movement.
It is less about attaining the posture and more about the journey of coming back to the intelligence of the body where presence, wholeness , wisdom resides . What Vanda referred to as the ‘song of the body’.
Allowing ourselves to go beyond hope and fear that keeps us in the lense of seeing through the small ”mind”. Touching new levels of awareness and presence and discovering health , aliveness and freedom beyond.
Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen said ” our education is so much about remembering with our nervous system. And this is about forgetting with our nervous system and remembering with our cellular life force”
There are echoes with Vanda’s work which I am especially interested to invite students to explore . Remembering ourselves, our true essence is an intelligence within the body that we can’t do and requires us to drop below the nervous system level of our daily routines , the speed of our world and our conditioned small self – to discover our true nature.
“Yoga must not be practised to control the body: it is the opposite, it must bring freedom to the body, all the freedom it needs.’ Vanda Scaravelli